One of the most common questions that many people ask themselves when making decisions is: do I decide with the head or do I decide with gut instinct? What is right? Can I trust my belly at all? Yes – because now even scientists call the belly “second brain”.
The American scientist Michael Gershon has proven that psychically highly active substances such as serotonin, dopamine and opiates are produced in the belly. 90 percent of the nerve connections lead from the belly to the brain. “Decisions are made from the gut instinct”, the folk going says. Time has come to reconnect with the powerful center and to take the inner voice serious. In Eastern traditions – for example in the Japanese culture, Hara, the center, is one of the most important aspects of life and spiritual practices. Hara means: the true nature, where you can be real human.
Staying in Hara with attendance means to be consciously present in the entire belly area, both in the pelvis, in the lower abdomen and in the 3rd Chakra as well. When the energy flow is blocked in the first three chakras, this manifests as a blockage in sexuality, feelings, sensuality and self-esteem. Hara connects with the root chakra, the will and steadiness. “Here I stand, here I am!”
Known for millennia
In Ayurveda, for thousands of years it is known that health is closely related with the condition of our belly. Before being born the navel nourishes the unborn child through the placenta of the mother; after birth it nourishes the person energetically through Prana – life energy. The 3rd chakra (Manipura) and the digestive fire (Agni) are situated in the navel center area. They are controlled and regulated through Nabhi.
All Nadis and Pranas converge at the navel Nabhi
All Nadis and Pranas converge at the navel Nabhi and can be harmonized and strengthened through this main point. Nabhi is connected with the internal organs via the Nadis and provides them with Prana and in this way combines the subtle and the physical. When the navel center is in harmony, we feel that we are centered and touch the root of our being. The rationality of the industrialized societies has removed us from our center. The guidelines of research, medicine, provability and social norms determine our thoughts and actions. Hectic schedule, emotional stress, unhealthy diet and lifestyle take us away from our true nature. Many people seem to have lost the connection with their belly and their emotions. Instead of fixating ourselves to the idea that “the belly has to go away”, we should wake-up and reconnect with our gut instinct and our intuition. It is up to us to wake-up, to stop the cart we are driving, get-out and pause to think in order to examine and check our lifestyle habits and if they are right.
Deceleration and regularity
In Ayurveda, the lower abdomen is considered to be the main location of Vata dosha. When there is an imbalance this can cause various symptoms such as bloating, irregular digestion, tension headaches, joint pain, back pain, menstrual cramps and complaints of the urogenital tract, but also weak connective tissue, sluggish blood circulation, lymphatic congestion and a low muscle tone. Deceleration and regularity both in daily life and in diet calm the nervous system and harmonize Vata dosha. Food should mainly be warm, cooked, nourishing, grounding and seasoned in a mild way to strengthen digestion and metabolism.
Pitta dosha is located in the stomach, in the twelve-finger intestine and small intestine. Its power of guidance and transformation brings joy in working, and helps in determining and deciding. It fills us with knowledge and motivation and helps us to overcome obstacles. When we use this power, we are very effective. When, however, this power loses the healthy connection with our mind a destructive character can develop which may on the physical plane cause inflammations, indigestion, diarrhea, blurred vision (seeing red). In this case acidic, spicy, too salty and hot food should absolutely be avoided. This includes any acidic fruits and vegetables, coffee, meat, alcohol and vinegar, very salty food such as cheese and finished products. Your diet should be cooling, bitter and sweet food.
“Health is closely connected to the state of our belly.”
With its various treatment methods Ayurveda offers an individual concept for each constitutional type for relaxation, cleansing and stimulation of the belly, its organs and energy points. Unresolved blockages on the emotional and psychic plane are often the source for disturbances of the inner balance and can lead to physical complaints. Old thought patterns that characterized the way of life until today will be examined in view of their validity for today and in this way can be resolved, transformed and removed.
The treatment methods comprise both special massages, therapeutic treatments such as Dharas (pourings), Basti (internal and external oil treatments, enemas), Pichu (herbal oil applications), inner administration of herbs and a targeted diet and health advices. Yoga, spiritual therapy methods and meditative exercises give a support in solving blockages and cleansing Nadis and Shrotas and help to bring gross material and subtle energies back to flow. Harmonizing the belly, the “second brain”, its chakras, Marma points and Nadis balance the connection between thinking and feeling. It helps to perceive the “voice of the belly”, to train intuition and to centralize the own power within.
“The rationality of the industrialized societies removed us from our center. “
Create Islands of Happiness
Ask yourself every morning after waking up, what could bring you joy today, and look where you can build-in this beautiful moment into your day. This may be a small thing, maybe going to a lake, sitting on a bench and looking over the water. These small moments of happiness train your “gut intuition”, it needs joy and love to reawaken. Remember a moment where you were in contact with your inner voice, show your willingness to reintegrate it into your life.
Turn to your belly lovingly, for example, with a nice massage in the morning or in the evening. Lay on your back, put the feet shoulder width apart, let your breath flow calmly. Get your hands in touch with your belly. How does it feel? Is it cold or warm? Hard or soft? Is it in motion or completely at rest? Feel how it raises and lowers, the breath becomes calm and slow, the belly relaxes and expands. Give your full attentiveness with your hands and thank for the work it did during day and night. How does it feel when you lovingly care and your hands touch the belly? How do your feelings and thinking change? If your belly suffers at the moment because you did not care properly ask what it needs. Maybe it would like to have a little belly massage of five to ten minutes in the morning or in the evening?
Put some warm oil (sesame or almond oil) in your hands and massage your belly very gently with both hands in the gut course: put your hands above the navel on the right side of the abdomen, then move straight over to the left side, turn left down to below the navel, then massage from the left to the right side and again high up above the navel. The entire palm massages in smooth large circles. Feel the touch, look inward while your breath continues to flow calmly, and sensate your feelings. Massage now with the fingers of one hand in small circles clockwise, each circle accompanied by gentle empathize. Pause for a moment and sensate your feeling. Put both hands on your belly and let them rest. Feel your breath, how it lightly touches your nostrils, flowing through the throat, widens chest and the belly area, raises and lowers your hands. Bring your attention to Hara, the point which is four to five centimeters below your navel, perceive it and sensate your feelings.
…..to be continued
The author is an Ayurvedic specialist, healer/naturopath with her own practice in Biel/Switzerland, leading the training REAA, massage and specialists.